Benson Hill introduces five 2024 soybean varieties

Taking major steps in its objective to re-commoditize soybeans for animal feed and food, Benson Hill has announced gains in its soybean breeding program, and introduced five 2024 soybean varieties delivering higher protein and improved yield potential.

Benson Hill, Inc, self-described as an ag tech company unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants, has announced that recent advances in its soybean breeding program will drive the doubling of its seed portfolio by 2025. The latest field evaluations on Benson Hill’s third generation of Ultra High Protein Low Oligosaccharides, non-GMO soybean varieties showed protein gains of 2% over the previous generation and achieved a yield gap of only 3 to 5 bushels per acre, compared with commodity GMO soybeans.

“We’ve successfully demonstrated that CropOS®, our AI-based prediction and data insights platform, can drive our predictive breeding efforts and give us a step-change forward on multiple traits like protein and yield,” said Jason Bull, Chief Technology Officer of Benson Hill. “We are now seeing massive gains in the field that minimize the tradeoff between yield and protein, surpassing expectations from when we began building on the high-protein soybean genetics we acquired in 2019.”

“What this means for the industry is that we’re accelerating our speed to market with de-risked, outcome-based products in record time,” Bull added. “We expect to expand our portfolio of seed innovations again in 2025 to offer two dozen varieties that encompass protein, lower indigestible sugars, and quality oil.”

Benson Hill Chief Executive Officer Deanie Elsner also announced today at FARMCON 2024 an expansion of its commercially available soybean portfolio for 2024, adding five value-added varieties to its lineup. Benson Hill previously offered about a dozen soybean seed varieties that deliver ultra high protein, high-oleic and low-linoleic oils, and low-oligosaccharide quality traits. For the 2024 planting season, U.S. soybean farmers can choose from more than 20 varieties across several relative maturity groups.

Benson Hill’s herbicide-tolerant ultra high protein soybean varieties are on track for commercial release in 2025, with acreage and further portfolio expansion expected in 2026. This is a major step in providing farmers with options for weed control and enabling lower-cost, broadacre production of already advantaged ultra high protein soybeans for the feed industry.

By leveraging deep insights into its proprietary soybean germplasm, Benson Hill is strategically positioned to drive seed innovation in broadacre opportunities for the aquaculture, pet food, swine and poultry markets – some 90 percent of the soy market. According to Elsner, the recent field evaluations support Benson Hill’s acceleration to an asset-light model focused on partnerships and licencing, including seed.

“Over the last several years, we’ve discovered ways to boost soy protein by 8 to 10 percentage points over commodity, and there are more seed improvements coming in geographies relevant for poultry production,” Elsner told FARMCON attendees. “Today, Benson Hill is well positioned to validate our products with customers and end users to create market demand and begin to scale our seed innovations across approximately 7 million acres by 2030.”THE BROADACRE ANIMAL FEED OPPORTUNITY FOR BENISON
As previously announced, the company’s analysis of non-GMO, ultra high protein low oligosaccharide (UHP-LO) soybean varieties demonstrates novel attributes for poultry diets, swine rations, and pet food, opening up the broadacre animal feed opportunity for the company in the next two to three years, including large U.S. feed markets representing a total addressable market of approximately 28 million acres. Research this fall confirmed a trifecta of product attributes with UHP-LO desired by animal nutritionists, processors, feed formulators, and farmers, including higher yields, higher protein levels and lower anti-nutritional factors.

Benson Hill continues to expand its world-class soy protein expression data set. Field data from the company’s R&D program, field trials, and commercially planted acres are digitized to further refine the predictive capabilities of CropOS. The company plans to share the results of studies and feeding trials as they become available.